Can You Vent a Portable Air Conditioner Through A Screen?

If you have a portable air conditioner, you must be looking for the most ideal way to vent it. The most ideal venting method for yourself may be different from others, as we all have our requirements. Many people recommend venting through a screen, also there are many who discourage it.

So, should you vent a portable air conditioner through a screen? Or should you not? Find out all about it in the following discussion.

Can You Vent a Portable Air Conditioner Through A Screen?

Yes, it’s possible to vent a portable air conditioner through a screen. When you’re venting through a screen, the hot outtake airflow will definitely come across some sort of resistance. However, as the screens are made of mesh, there will be enough empty space for the airflow to pass.

If the mesh doesn’t provide much empty space, then it’s definitely not feasible to pass air through it. Then again, if the mesh is made of nylon, then we discourage venting an air conditioner through it. Nylon is highly susceptible to heat, which means it’ll get damaged over time. So, you should try this only if you have a steel screen.

Is this the most efficient way of venting a portable AC? Not really. In fact, it’s far from being the most efficient. There are certain workarounds to it that can help you increase and even maximize the airflow.

How to Maximize the Airflow When Venting Through a Screen?

When venting through a screen, sliding the screen to create an opening is not an option. It will allow bugs and other objects to enter the room, which will destroy the very purpose of the screen.

Through The Screen

So, most people adjust the exhaust in such a way that the air passes directly through the screen. Is there a problem with it? Not really, as long as you maintain it regularly. As the air passes through the screen, the screen will catch dust and dirt constantly, and over time it’ll reduce the amount of air that can flow through it.

This is why you need to clean the mesh at least once a month if you set it up like that. The easiest way of spotting whether the screen is dirty or not is by checking whether you can see through the screen. If you can, no need to clean it. If you can’t, go ahead.

Another important thing to consider here is the type of screen. There are both thick and thin screens. If the screen is too thick, then the exhaust air will have a hard time passing through it, and in fact, some portion of it may bounce back into your home. This is why you are discouraged from using these techniques if you have a thick screen in your home. Thankfully, you’ll face no such problem with thin screens.

Through A Hole In A Piece of Wood

There’s another way to do this, and this method will not only reduce the amount of maintenance, but it’ll also help you increase and maximize the airflow.

In this method, you need to cut plywood that’s as wide as the exhaust tube of the portable AC. Once you have the width right, measure the height of the screen, and match the height of the plank with it. Attach the plank with the screen, and this will create a new surface on the side where the screen closes.

Now, you’ll have to measure the diameter of the exhaust tube and cut a hole in the plank. Route the tube through the hole in the plank, and now you have a perfect exhaust system that will allow you to vent your portable AC without any worries.

The best part about this method is that it doesn’t require almost any maintenance, and there won’t be any loss of airflow either. This will keep your portable AC from overheating, and it’ll also help in keeping your room cool and moisture-free.

Using Larger Diameter Extension

Another way of maximizing the airflow through the screens is by purchasing aftermarket add-ons. There are certain add-ons that can increase the effective area of the exhaust tube and using these is easy as well.

At first, you need to figure out how much airflow the screen is reducing. Let’s say that the mesh is blocking 50% of the airflow of the exhaust compared to holes without any resistance. In such a case, you need to get yourself an extension that can increase the exhaust area up to 200%. This will help you counter the resistance from the screen and maximize the airflow back to 100%!

Related reading: What To Do When Portable Air Conditioner Exhaust Hose Gets Hot?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to remove the window screen for the portable air conditioner?

Yes, your AC will work better without the screen but you can still vent it through the screen. Venting the AC thru the screen is better than some other alternatives like venting it into another room.


Venting a portable AC through a screen may not be a perfect way, but it sure gets the job done.

If you’re bothered about the airflow, then you can go for the other methods discussed above. With these, hopefully, you’ll be able to make your life much easier!

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